Walgreens PBM Shopping for Suitors

As you may have seen in the news, Walgreens is taking a serious look at selling off their PBM.

What does this mean?   Clients with Walgreens as their PBM either directly, for on-site clinics, or for mail-order or specialty through a carrier or smaller PBM (for example, MedTrak), could be impacted.   This does NOT mean that employees will no longer be able to get prescriptions at Walgreens–Walgreens is looking to sell off their PBM business, not their pharmacy business.
Who will buy Walgreens PBM unit?   Biggest contenders are Medco and Express Scripts.   Express Scripts recently bought NextRx and has openly stated they are looking to acquire PBMs.   CVS Caremark is probably too much of a competitor of Walgreens to be a top contender, but they did submit a bid.
When?   Unknown.   Safe to say this is not an issue for 1/1/2011 renewals.
Why?   The industry is consolidating.   Walgreens as a PBM has less than 8% of the market, which is simply not enough to compete with the big three under their model.   In addition, retail pharmacies and PBMs are proving not to be a good business mix.   When CVS and Caremark merged, shares dropped significantly.
Walgreen PBM Sale
Source: Lockton Pharmacy Analytics